Integrity Commission: ” No need for PM to go before tribunal- He did not benefit from townhouse”

Home*Cover Story*Government

Integrity Commission: ” No need for PM to go before tribunal- He did not benefit from townhouse”

There is no need for Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley to be brought before a tribunal. This is the position of the Integrity Commission (IC) for his declarations on a townhouse in Inez Gate development in Tobago. The Commission made the statement in a written response, dated August 14, to former Attorney General Anand Ramlogan SC, on behalf of his client activist Ravi Balgobin Maharaj.

Ramlogan is insisting that Dr. Rowley did indeed break the Law. In a subsequent letter to the Integrity Commission , he discounted the Commission’s claim that Rowley did not act illegally. Ramlogan said Dr. Rowley must have known that the value of his property was not $1.2 million as he paid stamp duties on said property which was equal to that of a property valued at $1.6 million.

Ramlogan SC stated in his ten-page response to the IC, Ramlogan that attorneys act on instructions and it would have been impossible for Rowley to not know that the stamp duties he paid was for a house valued $480,000 more than he declared, and that the difference between what was paid, and the actual value of the house was made known when the Board of Inland Revenue had the property assessed. Then, when the valuation was done, the stamp duties rose from $10,000 to $35,000

The Integrity Commission said that it investigated whether or not Dr. Rowley knowingly made a false declaration when he valued his property and their investigations identified that he did not. The difference between the value and the amount Rowley declared was $480,000. It also found that the difference does not constitute a gift or personal benefit. The Commission also stated that: “the Integrity in Public Life Act (IPLA) does not disallow those subjected to the law to receive gifts. It contended that when compared to the prices paid by others for houses within the same development, Rowley, who paid less, did receive a gift but it was not as a result of him being the Prime Minister.

The Commission stated in it’s response that: “The evidence collected by the Commission in the course of its investigation did not support the conclusion that the discount provided to Dr Rowley had anything to do with the performance of his duties as Prime Minister and accordingly had no basis for concluding that there had been any breach of Section 27(1) of the Integrity in Public Life Act.”